February 28, 2017

A weekly communication for:

WDC Churches and Pastors

WDC Executive Board, Commission, Committee and Task Force members

Any content may be used in bulletins and newsletters and

forwarded to congregational leaders and members.

WDC Sprouts is also available at:  www.mennowdc.org (Publications)


*The Generosity of Giving Time

*Prayer Requests

*Coming Events


The Generosity of Giving Time

     by Michael Unruh, Camp Mennoscah Executive Director

Over the past several weeks, Camp Mennoscah has seen much activity, during a time that typically slows down a bit. Our new cabin in the boys’ cabin area is taking form. The ground surrounding the dining hall and staff houses has been reshaped to allow water to adequately drain away from these buildings. We have taken down “the whale” playground structure and are busy planning the new design. Wooden canoe racks have been constructed down by the river. Things are happening at Camp Mennoscah!

The projects listed above have a common thread running through them: they have all been made possible through generous donations of time. Organizations like Camp Mennoscah depend on financial contributions, yes. But contributions of time and sharing one’s God-given gifts through volunteer work have always greatly extended the ministry of Camp Mennoscah. In a culture driven by efficiency, productivity, and schedules planned out to the minute, donations of time are increasingly valuable.

As I worked side-by-side with the volunteer group from First Mennonite of Newton, KS  earlier this month, I noticed several things. First, many of the volunteers who had been coming out have other full-time jobs. This means they have likely taken time off and chosen to spend it doing work! For free! One high school student sacrificed a precious day off from school to come to camp and help pour concrete. Second, volunteering provides an unmatched opportunity to deepen relationships with other people. Whether it’s teaching and learning a new skill, catching up with a friend, or learning more about a new friend’s background, a volunteer job site is scarcely quiet–conversation abounds! Third, this desire to volunteer, at Camp Mennoscah in particular, is driven by a deep love for the camp and belief in the ministry that happens here. If camp was not a special place to these volunteers, we would have a much more difficult time encouraging individuals and groups to come assist with projects.

In reflecting on the generosity of giving time, I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all who choose to volunteer at camp, whether it be for one hour, one day, or many days. Camp Mennoscah cannot be the place it is without the wonderful work of our volunteers. So, if you have contributed your time at camp, we are thankful for your gift to us. And, if camp has had an impact on you, please consider volunteering. We will absolutely be able to find a project for you! If you are neither of the above, I encourage you to seek out a meaningful place to make a gift of your time. You will surely be glad you did.

Prayer Requests

Mar 5 – Pray for pastor Jaime Cazares whose ordination will be celebrated at Iglesia Menonita Casa Betania, Newton, KS, at 3 pm today.

Mar 12 – Pray for participants leaving this week on a Come and See learning tour of Israel/Palestine, including Byron and Hilda Pellecer and Sandra Martinez from WDC.

Mar 19 – Pray for WDC board, commission and congregation members participating in adaptive leadership training programs at the Kansas Leadership Center, that God would use this experience to equip them more fully for effective ministry.

Mar 26 – Pray for God’s guidance and wisdom for the WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission as they meet this Friday.

Coming Events

Mar 2 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting

Mar 4 – WDC Executive Board meeting

Mar 9 – WDC Resource Commission meeting

Mar 12 (3:30-4:30 pm) – AMBS Kansas Center closing reception, WDC Office

Mar 16 – Kansas Leadership Center Brown Bag Lunch, WDC Office

Mar 16-18 – Mennonite Church USA Constituency Leaders Council, Elkhart, IN

Mar 23 (6 pm) – Women’s Spring Supper, Bethel College, North Newton, KS

Mar 31 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting

April 18 – WDC Church Planting Commission meeting

April 20 – Kansas Leadership Center Brown Bag Lunch, Dyck Arboretum, Hesston KS

April 29 – Congregational Resourcing Event:  Congregational Ministry in the face of Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence, First Mennonite Church, Hutchinson, KS

May 23 – WDC Chaplains breakfast

Aug 4-6 – WDC Annual Assembly, Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Arlington DFW South, Texas

WDC Announcements

  1. Immigration and Refugee Response: What has your congregation (or individuals in the congregation) done or is planning to do in response to immigration concerns and challenges?  Do you have a story to tell?  Do you have a refugee action plan that could include other Western District Conference people?  WDC is willing to connect together congregations working at similar projects.  We’re still looking for inspiring, thought-provoking stories of how you are “loving the stranger” (Deut. 10.19) for the next Garden newsletter and if you’d appreciate ministry partners in your immigration/refugee work.  Please send a note to kathynd@mennowdc.org about what’s happening in your congregation as you welcome the stranger.
  1. Preview the MennoMedia summer VBS curriculum at the Western District Conference Resource Library. This year’s theme is Digging for Treasure: Parables Revealed.
  1. Did you know the Western District Conference Resource Library has resources for all ages about refugees and immigration issues? Stop by to take a look at the display, or view the lists online at www.mennowdc.org/library/  (go to the online catalog, and look under “lists”).
  1. Lent-At-Home Devotionals now at AnabaptistFaithFormation.org – Celebrate Lent and Easter at home with your children from March 1 through April 16 with this practical guide! Do the parts that fit your life or everything suggested. There is a daily Bible reading, a short daily litany, activity suggestions and questions to ponder together. Brought to you by Anabaptist Faith Formation Network in cooperation with Common Word Bookstore and Resource Centre.
  1. Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and Western District Conference will host a reception on Sunday, March 12 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. to honor the ministry of the AMBS-Kansas Center. The reception will be held at the Western District Offices, 2517 N. Main Street, North Newton, Kansas. Words of gratitude and blessing will be offered at 4:00 p.m. The center provided numerous continuing education events for congregational and pastoral leaders over the last three years.

Camp Mennoscah Announcements

  1. Thank you, everyone, for your over-whale-ming support! The Hymn Sing and Dessert Auction fundraiser last Sunday was a great success, raising $5470 for the new playground structure at Camp Mennoscah.  You are ever-so-valuable to our camping ministry, sharing your time, gifts, and prayers with us.  Read more about the fundraiser and see pictures on the Camp Mennoscah Facebook page!
  1. Youth Volunteer Weekend has room for more Youths! Camp Mennoscah welcomes more folks in grades 7-12 to come out for worship and service during our Youth Volunteer Weekend on March 10-1.  Additional time to talk about faith has been added and there will be singing and time for games!  Register online at campmennoscah.org or call us at 620-297-3290.
  1. Kitchen helpers needed! We think kitchen helpers are some of the greatest people ever, giving a week (sometimes more or less) of their summer to laugh, cook meals, and be friends during our youth camps.  Camp Mennoscah is looking for men and women to help peel potatoes, stir pots, and basically follow directions.  Contact us at olivia.bartel@campmennoscah.org or 620-297-3290 for information.  We can’t wait to see all you great folks at camp!
  1. Retirees Relaxation Retreat is ready for you! Retirees of all ages are invited to come to Camp Mennoscah on April 24-26 for a time of community, coffee breaks, conversation, and Bible study.  Amanda Rempel will lead us in music, Stan and Marlene Smucker will share Bible study, and we’ll hear stories of courage, faith, and journeys.  Contact us at 620-297-3290 or office@campmennoscah.org to register!  Online registration also available at campmennoscah.org.

Mennonite Church Announcements

  1. 63rd Anniversary Dinner, Prairie View, Inc. – March 28, 2017 – 6:30 PM – 1901 E. First Newton, KS, Special Guests: Mark and Nanette Potter. Mr. and Mrs. Potter will present “Victory over Depression.” Mark Potter is entering his 19th year as the head coach of the Newman men’s basketball program.  Eleven years ago, Potter knew something wasn’t right and he began a downward spiral into a world of darkness. Potter missed eight games and 25 practices due to severe depression. Since that time, he has been on a crusade to educate people about depression and encourage others suffering from mental illness to seek assistance.  His passion is to share his story in hopes that people will pursue treatment and find a way to live productively with mental illness.   Proceeds from ticket sales support the mission of Prairie View.  Tickets – $20.  RSVP – Brandy Beer 316-284-6443
  1. “Make a Joyful Song: Celebrating the Legacy of Walter Jost” is the theme of the Newton Chorale’s 40th season concert on Sunday, March 5, 6:30pm at Bethel College Mennonite Church in North Newton. Director Renae Schmidt Peters has included many of Jost’s favorite works, including Harold Moyer’s “Songs of Faith.” Admission is free with an offering taken to help cover concert expenses.

Western District Conference

2517 North Main, PO Box 306

North Newton KS  67117

316-283-6300; FAX:  316-283-0620

Email:  wdc@mennowdc.org

Website:  www.mennowdc.org